In July 2013 Royal Assent was received for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2013 which will allow same sex couples the option to enter into a religious marriage ceremony.
Currently the Civil Partnership Act 2007 allows same sex couples to enter into a civil partnership contract which gives legal remedies and rights including inheritance claims, pension provision, Life Assurance and child maintenance. Under the new law those who have entered into a civil partnership can convert this into a religious ceremony ‘marriage’ which will give the same legal rights.
It is expected that the first marriages will be by next summer. However the Church of England and the Church of Wales are barred from offering weddings and other religious organisations will have to opt in.
However, as with opposite sex couples who live together and choose not to marry in either a civil or religious ceremony, same sex couples who do not have a civil partnership or choose not to marry do not have the same rights or legal remedies.
You can however do a number of things to safeguard yourself and your family including
- Co-Habitation Agreement
- Pre/Post Nuptial Agreement
- Provision in your Will for your loved ones
- Inheritance Tax Planning
- Owning property in different shares and having a Declaration of Trust.
It is essential that arrangements are agreed at the outset to mitigate any future misunderstanding or expensive litigation. For more information on your options contact us or visit our website / family law.